UK strikes 2023: Which workforces are walking out in June and July?

·7-min read
UK strikes 2023: Which workforces are walking out in June and July?

This year has seen workers from many industries across the UK taking industrial action over pay and working conditions.

Workers from some industries have managed to reach deals, such as a salary settlement for more than a million NHS employees in England.

Others, such as junior doctors, bus drivers, and DVLA workers, are still involved in a long series of disputes over pay and working conditions.

Most recently, security staff at Heathrow airport have announced 31 days of strike action from mid-June to the end of August.

Recently, RMT and Aslef were involved in industrial action over ongoing salary disputes, causing disruptions to countless passengers across three days, including the day of the FA Cup final.

Meanwhile, to ensure at least a minimal level of service during strikes, the Government is attempting to pass legislation requiring some union members to work.

So which industries are affected by strikes in the coming weeks and when will staff walk out?

Heathrow airport strikes

Security staff at the UK’s busiest airport have announced further strike action, in an escalation of their dispute over pay.

Walkouts will take place at Heathrow nearly every weekend from June 24, with 31 strike days planned in total.

The timing of the strike action means it will coincide with both the start of the school holidays and the August bank holiday.

Health workers’ strike

Nurses across most parts of Wales started striked yesterday (Tuesday, June 6) and will continue to do so today (Wednesday, June 7) as their dispute about pay continues.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Wales has said that they need the Welsh government to provide “more commitments” and that they would hold a ballot for further action in July.

It comes after health workers took part in strike action on June 1, with Unite members at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London walking out.

Talking about it, Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Our members are returning to the picket lines in targeted industrial action to place further pressure on the Government to reopen pay negotiations.

“The current pay deal does not address the fundamental problems undermining the NHS.

“Workers have suffered real-terms pay cuts for over a decade and can no longer afford to make ends meet, resulting in experienced staff leaving the NHS in droves.”

Bus strike

More than 1,700 drivers working for the bus company Arriva will strike on June 20, 21, and 28 as part of a new round of strikes, according to an announcement made by Unite.

The bus garages where the strikes will take place are Ash Grove, Barking, Clapton, Edmonton, Enfield, Palmers Green, Tottenham, and Wood Green. The strikes will mostly affect routes in north and east London.

Sharon Graham said: “Arriva is an extremely wealthy company but it has got its priorities all wrong.

“It needs to be concentrating on paying its workers fairly rather than providing the German government with huge dividends.”

When will junior doctors strike?

Junior doctors are set to strike in June, with members of the British Medical Association walking out from 6.59 am on June 14 until 7 am on June 17.

The BMA announced the 72-hour strike in response to the Government’s “paltry” five per cent pay increase offer.

They previously went on strike in April and March, resulting in hundreds of thousands of appointments being cancelled or rescheduled.

In order to ensure that there are enough staff members available to provide emergency care, Whittington Health NHS Trust said it has made the “difficult decision” to reschedule all non-emergency surgeries and outpatient appointments.

The trust manages community services throughout Haringey, Islington, and Camden, in addition to the Whittington Hospital in Archway.

Train strikes

RMT members went on strike on Friday, June 2, with around 20,000 members of staff across 14 train companies walking out.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “The Government is once again not allowing the Rail Delivery Group to make an improved offer that we can consider.

“Therefore, we have to pursue our industrial campaign to win a negotiated settlement on jobs, pay, and conditions.”

Furthermore, Aslef train drivers walked out on May 31 and June 3.

Talking about the latest strikes, Aslef said: “Most of the drivers have not had a pay increase at all since 2019 and, with inflation still well over 10 per cent and the cost of living spiralling, this is not acceptable.”

Public servants’ strikes

Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union have been taking industrial action for months, holding three national walkouts to date.

The Government previously made an offer to the civil servants below senior grades, saying they would be given a lump sum of £1,500 for 2022-2023. They said this is their highest offer to civil servants in two decades.

While the deal was welcomed by the union, they still went ahead with their “planned targeted action” on Tuesday (June 6) in Northern Ireland, and today in Wales (Wednesday).

When will DVLA workers strike?

Employees of the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency are going on a 15-day strike in an ongoing conflict over salaries, pensions, and working conditions.

From June 11 to June 25, Swansea’s Ty Felin and Morriston will be the scene of strikes by Public and Commercial Services union members.

The employees of the Output Services Group print documents for the DVLA and other government agencies.

Will Heathrow airport security workers strike again?

Heathrow security officers held a three-day strike from May 25-27, amid an ongoing dispute between the Unite union and Heathrow Airport.

There are no dates for further strikes, although further industrial action is likely.

Unite’s Ms Graham said: “Yet again, we have a chief executive who thinks it is acceptable to boost his earnings by an eye-watering 88 per cent, from £800,000 to a staggering £1.5 million, while he denies his own workers a decent pay rise.

“This dispute is bound to escalate, with more workers being balloted and disruption set to continue throughout the summer.”

Will teachers strike?

The National Education Union (NEU) has threatened strike action in July if the dispute over pay is not resolved by mid-June.

The NEU says teachers will strike on the week commencing July 3 if Education Secretary Gillian Keegan does not address teachers’ pay concerns.

Joint general secretaries Dr Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney said in a statement: “She can fund schools properly, start to address the decline in teacher pay and its consequences for the appalling state of teacher recruitment and retention.

“If she makes the right decisions, she could also avoid further strike action.”

Teachers in England previously rejected the Government’s pay offer, which would have increased salaries by 4.5 per cent on average next year, alongside a one-off payment of £1,000 for this year.

Are pilots striking this summer?

Spanish pilots could strike this summer in a dispute with the Spanish government. The Spanish Union of Airline Pilots has proposed industrial action that could affect pilots at Easyjet and Ryanair, along with Jet 2, Swiftair, Plus Ultra, Norweigan, Eurowings, and Evelop.

The union members are protesting against the government’s “abusive” minimum services rules, which reportedly mean that 90 per cent of flights have been forced to go ahead during industrial action.

Also, anyone planning a trip to America should be aware there are planned strikes as well, with pilots at Southwest Airlines and American Airlines voting overwhelmingly for industrial action.

Southwest Airlines Pilots Association’s (SWAPA) says “operational disasters and the lack of progress after three-plus years of stagnant negotiations” are the reasons for strike action.

“Our pilots are tired of apologizing to our passengers on behalf of a company that refuses to place its priorities on its internal and external customers.”

However, any strike action requires permission from the federal National Mediation Board, so it’s best to keep abreast of developments if you are travelling to America.